Top Ten

May 15, 2008

College of the Rockies student killed by helicopter

An international student attending the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, BC was killed Tuesday when a helicopter crashed into him on the street and exploded. The copter pilot and two passengers also died in the crash. 20-year-old Isaiah Otieno, originally from Kenya, was on his way to mail a letter to his parents in Nairobi when the crash occurred. The college's president offered condolences to Otieno's family, and said "Isaiah was always a cheerful presence on campus; he had a wonderful gentle nature and was an excellent ambassador for his nation." Globe and Mail | CBC | COTR News Release

Apollo Group plans to open online Meritus University in NB

The Apollo Group Inc, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, a US-based for-profit distance education institution, announced Tuesday it plans to establish a new school called Meritus University in Fredericton, and expects it to be operational late this year. New Brunswick's Department of PSE, Training and Labour has approved Meritus to offer its first 3 degree programs -- an MBA, a BBA and a Bachelor of Information Technology Management. Apollo Group News Release

CBU fires sole personal student counsellor

In a move to cut costs, Cape Breton University is apparently laying off its only personal student counsellor. The counsellor, who sees up to 300 students a year for a variety of mental health issues, will leave the school in early August. CBU says it plans to provide students with advisory services, but didn't explain how. The layoff follows the announcement CBU made last month about cutting 33 faculty and staff positions. Meanwhile, the union representing administrative and support staff at CBU calls the layoffs "unwarranted" and plans to fight them. CBC | CUPE News Release

Reach! jumpstarts new Urology Institute in Calgary

On Tuesday, the co-chair of Reach!, a 3-year, $300-million joint fundraising initiative between the University of Calgary and the Calgary Health Region, announced the launch of the funding campaign for the Southern Alberta Institute of Urology. Built exclusively with community donations, the facility will be the largest and most comprehensive urology centre in Canada. To date, over $19 million has been donated toward the $28-million cost of building the institute. uCalgary News Release

Alberta provides $30 million for nanotechnology programming

On Tuesday the Alberta government committed $30 million to nanotechnology programming for engineering students at the University of Alberta, and science students at the University of Calgary. The funding is part of the province's $130-million strategy to make Alberta a centre of nanotechnology research and product commercialization. The investment will allow expansion of undergraduate BSc seats by nearly 600 FLEs by the end of the 5-year investment. In addition, uAlberta will receive $5.7 million, and uCalgary $3 million, in one-time grant funding to enhance facilities and develop curriculum for nanotechnology programming. Alberta News Release

Nurses want Alberta to pay their tuition

More than 200 nurses rallied in front of the Alberta legislature Monday, warning that chronic nursing shortages in the province may increase risk to patient safety. To alleviate the shortage, nurses are calling on the provincial government to pay nursing school tuition for those who agree to stay in Alberta after graduation, and to pay student loans for nurses who are often wary of staying because of the high cost of housing. The PC government promised in its recent election campaign to start graduating 2,000 nurses annually within 4 years, but unions say in order to meet this target the province needs to boost the number of spaces in nursing schools. Maclean's OnCampus

MCAT pilot-tests digital fingerprinting at exams

Starting next month, 10 American medical schools will use a database storing MCAT takers' digital fingerprints to automatically identify that the applicants they are interviewing and enrolling are the same people who took the admission test. The Association of American Medical Colleges created the database as means to curb fraud in admissions. Previously, MCAT takers were required to provide ink fingerprints at test sites for a paper record. Privacy advocates say the new fingerprint process may infringe on students' privacy, but supporters of the system says fingerprints are much less of a privacy concern than Social Security numbers. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

British students told to lie to boost university's ranking

Two lecturers from Kingston University in the UK have been caught on tape urging students to give the school a glowing report in this year's National Student Survey, which asks final-year students about their PSE experience. One professor told her class their degree would be worthless if the university didn't do well in the rankings, while another urged his students to reserve negative feedback for internal evaluations. The university admitted Tuesday the recordings are real, and expressed regret over the "inappropriate comments." The Times

Online video viewing booming

Nearly three-quarters of the online population watched an online video in March. Research from comScore Video Metrix found American Internet users watched 11.5 billion videos this March, up 64% from the year before. The average online video viewed was 2.8 minutes long, and the average viewer watched nearly 4 hours of video. Nielsen Online, which only measured streams, reported an average of 137.3 minutes of online video viewed in March. Another study found 12% of viewers download content, while 37% stream it. eMarketer 

Student videos serve as college PR

In order to attract students through social media, PSE institutions in the US are jumping on the YouTube bandwagon by setting up channels, putting up videos of classes, and posting promotional spots. Schools are also sponsoring contests urging students to create promotional videos. College and universities are monitoring YouTube for independent student videos to weed out the bad PR, such as shots of a leaking roof, from the good, like videos featuring alumni. (Similar initiatives in Canada include uMontréal's video contest for students and alumni, UNB's "Only One U" contest, and Memorial University's "Rant Like Rick" contest.) Washington Post